- the power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; the understanding; the faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge.
- capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, especially of a high or complex order; mental capacity.
- a particular mind or intelligence, especially of a high order.
- a person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge.
- minds collectively, as of a number of persons or the persons themselves.
Origin of intellect
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for intellect
As in the case of Turner, the core of the intellect is missing.Why Can’t Movies Capture Genius?
December 14, 2014
Anyone with the intellect of a ping-pong ball should understand how opportunistic that whistleblowing looks.An Ivy League Frat Boy’s Shallow Repentance
November 24, 2014
He brought that intellect to bear on the chaotic bits and pieces (and people) of Animal House.How Harold Ramis Invented Baby Boom Comedy With ‘Animal House’
P. J. O’Rourke
February 27, 2014
They had a problem with my intellect, and they had a problem with my choice of lovers.New Alice Walker Doc Delivers Good Medicine
February 3, 2014
But then I got a lot of insulting comments questioning my intellect.16 Questions for the ‘Real-Life Barbie,’ Valeria Lukyanova
August 5, 2013
This boasted power of intellect—this giddy triumph of beauty—what do they do for you?Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
Conscience, he said, was the soul's safeguard, and reason the safeguard of the heart and intellect.Life in London
For him the intellect as such is the organ of religious truth.Understanding the Scriptures
At other times the contests are only of the intellect and the mind, but are equally remarkable.The Dream
His intellect was a blank; he had no knowledge, no desires, no affections.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
- the capacity for understanding, thinking, and reasoning, as distinct from feeling or wishing
- a mind or intelligence, esp a brilliant onehis intellect is wasted on that job
- informal a person possessing a brilliant mind; brain
- those possessing the greatest mental powerthe intellect of a nation
Word Origin and History for intellect
late 14c. (but little used before 16c.), from Old French intellecte "intellectual capacity" (13c.), and directly from Latin intellectus "discernment, a perception, understanding," from noun use of past participle of intelligere "to understand, discern" (see intelligence).